The Artists Behind "semilucent 2" On Their Tracks
PARADISE RISING's "semilucent 2" features fresh, new artists both homegrown and diasporic
With the goal of establishing a presence for Filipino artists in the West and globally through music distribution, music rights management, and artist development, PARADISE RISING has more than lived up to expectations since it was launched in July 2020.
PARADISE RISING took the Philippine music industry by storm right with its well-received debut release semilucent, a compilation album that transcended genres and showcased an impressive array of emerging Philippine artists. PARADISE RISING returned with a new ensemble of artists on its EP and second installment to its compilation album, semilucent.
The latest compilation, semilucent 2, features fresh, new artists both homegrown and diasporic. semilucent 2 is a 5-track EP that provides genre-blending acoustics, memorable melodies and high-energy 808s. In contrast to the dreamy and airy radiance of the songs from the debut project, semilucent 2 draws inspiration from the darker mood that comes with the ending of summer, and a longing for memories past.
Highlights include exciting new recordings by the Vancouver Canada-based duo MANILA GREY; Philippine-native singer and instrumentalist Steven Peregrina; up-and-coming female R&B artist daze based out of Amsterdam; hip-hop powerhouse from New York CA Christian Alexander; seasoned rapper and songwriter Curtismith; and Filipino-American electronic producer standout Manila Killa with multi-talented global vocal artist Yuna.
For Steven Peregrina, his track “All Night” is “all about good vibes, good times, and partying.” He tells Metro.Style, “Itong si 'All Night,' inspired talaga siya sa pre-pandemic state natin. 'Pag gumagawa kasi ako ng kanta, lagi kong iniisip 'yung concept and setting ng isang kanta. So naisip ko, what if, meron akong isang kanta na tumutugtog sa mga gimikan nitong pre-pandemic season, tapos lahat ng tao, sumasayaw du'n? Ayun, du'n ko nagawa si 'All Night.'"
Steven, who has been into music since he was seven and grew up tuning in to the MYX music channel, added that it only took him three hours to finish the song. “Du'n mas lumalabas 'yung 'Magic,' kapag 'di ka nag-o-overthink sa ginagawa mo and nagpapadala ka lang sa flow ng creative process hanggang sa mapunta ka du'n sa 'zone'.”
This artist always makes sure that the music he puts out there exudes passion. It has to have that certain magic, the same feeling he had when he was tapped to be a part of semilucent 2.
“All Night” at its core is a party song, but Steven is happy that it took on a different meaning on its music video. He shares, “Party song 'tong si 'All Night' kung papakinggan mo lang siya. Pero kapag pinanood mo 'yung MV, meron pa palang ibang story na nabuo. So parang dalawang film agad 'yung tumakbo. Merong film na tumatakbo sa tenga mo, merong film na tumatakbo sa mata mo. Dalawang feels 'yung mabibigay niya sa'yo, depende kung sina-soundtrip mo lang siya or pinapanood mo rin at the same time. Mas solid kapag pinapanood din.”
For Manila Grey, “Island Baby (Maarte)” brings a new vibe to the compilation project. “In this song, we show love to all the beautiful women in our lives, women who represent the vibrancy and class of our culture, both in our home city, Vancouver. Maarte is slang for high maintenance in Filipino, but it actually means artsy. We just wanted to flip that narrative into something fun, while showcasing the art and the grace. All the strong women in our lives have high standards, sometimes you need that energy, you know? Like go ahead, it’s all good, feel yourself,” the duo noted.
According to daze, her song “Situation” is “about a relationship between two people who are in between love and friendship, or a situationship. Neither really wants to admit how much they like each other, but the tension and passion keeps building until they both can’t deny it any longer. It’s a soulful song with layers and layers of melodies that express desire, connection, and taking a leap of faith.”
She has always loved music, and she uses it as an outlet when she feels word's aren't enough to convey what's in her heart. daze recalls how her music career started, saying, “Writing my own songs eventually became a passion of mine, but I didn’t really know if pursuing music was possible for me. I looked at other ways I could be part of the music world and so I interned at Tarsier Records and learned about the business side of the industry. Later on, they heard my music and asked to sign me!”
One thing led to another and next thing she knew, she was already part of the lineup of artists for semilucent 2. “It honestly felt like divine timing for me,” she tells us. “I’ve always embraced the soul in my music, and I think that the RNB elements that I gravitate towards resonated with the concept of semilucent 2.”
daze revealed that “Situation” had been with her for a while, waiting for the right time to be released. And she couldn't be happier that that moment came with the help of PARADISE RISING. Her soulful music was enhanced by the song's music video which showed the process of falling in love. On the MV, she says, “There's an introduction, interaction, and eventually a lead up to an explosion. There is a sensuality in the movement of the cameras, the lighting, and overall mood. It was exciting to showcase 'Situation' in that way because it represented the way I felt when I was writing the song. ”
CA Christian Alexander said he and Curtismith “are excited to be a part of the semilucent 2 EP because we have an opportunity to represent the Philippines on 88rising’s global platform and inspire the next generation of artists to continue to keep pushing Filipino music culture forward.”
Alexander shared that his first collaboration with Curtismith, “Black Hearts,” is “a trap RnB song about how cold relationships can be. Welcome to the dark side of Paradise.” Alexander did his part for the song in August 2020 while Curtismith worked on it early this year. And for the latter, there is no other word more fitting to describe their collab than “monumental.”
On how this milestone came about, Alexander tells Metro.Style, “Curtismith and I work primarily out of Mango Room Studios. It’s a really cool home base because a lot of other dope artists work there and it’s an inspiring environment to be around. I know Mango Room submitted a bunch of songs from the artists that work there, and we were blessed enough to have 'Black Hearts' selected... Diaspora is a really big theme of semilucent 2, which is evident in the selection of Filipino artists. This project is a perfect representation of the different sonic palettes that Filipino artists bring. That said, I think my sound, being heavily influenced by growing up in NYC and then living in Manila for three years, and Curtismith being one of the leaders of the local scene here for almost a decade now is what made our song complement the aesthetic of the project.”
For “Reminisce,” Manila Killa shares that he “started the instrumental track during quarantine when I felt no pressure to create a specific type of music. It was during a time where I felt artistically free—there were no shows coming up and everything was at a standstill so I took the opportunity to try some things out I haven't before. When I found out Yuna was interested in the track I was so excited to work with her as I've been a longtime fan. She totally understood the mood I was going for with the track and turned it from this fun disco demo into something raw, emotional, and reminiscent of better times.”
Yuna, who's featured on the track, says: “When I heard Manila Killa's instrumental track, I was at a place in my life where I had to start being creative in a new environment. I was at home with my family, it was so different from what I'm used to. But listening to ‘Reminisce’ just inspired me to write something emotional, about romanticizing the past or a memory that lives in your head forever. After I sent over my vocals, Manila Killa took that song to a whole new level, I was blown away. I'm so lucky I got to work with such a talented musician who understood the mood and the emotions of what I was singing about.”
88rising founder and CEO Sean Miyashiro took note of the “vibrancy in the way talented young artists are emerging, and such a massive audience in love with music.”
“We want to support their voices, help them be heard, and bring music from the Philippines to a global audience,” Miyashiro concluded.